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What do you mean it wasn't Southwest's fault...Salk

Ky.BrownBourbn

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What do you mean it wasn't Southwest's fault...everyone on FI knows it was

Manufacturing process to blame
From the Wall Street Journal

By ANDY PASZTOR and PETER SANDERS
Investigators increasingly are focused on manufacturing-related issues, rather than a possible design flaw by Boeing Co., as they strive to unravel what caused the midair fuselage rupture of a Southwest Airlines Co. jet earlier this month, according to government and industry officials.

The officials said it's too early to draw definitive conclusions, and National Transportation Safety Board investigators haven't issued any statements hinting at what they suspect. But areas that federal and industry experts are examining as part of the probe, according to these officials, include riveting techniques, fixtures used to hold parts of the planes during assembly and uses of sealants on the 15-year-old Boeing 737.

The plane suffered a rapid decompression and had a five-foot gash rip open in the upper part of its cabin, about four feet above the windows, while cruising at about 34,000 feet.

Nobody was seriously hurt and the twin-engine jet, with 122 people aboard, made an emergency landing at a military base in Arizona on April 1. But the incident prompted Southwest to temporarily ground and inspect 79 of its other older Boeing 737s, and it also sparked a round of swift inspections of about 100 additional aging Boeing 737 models worldwide.

Four other Southwest jets were found to have fuselage cracks requiring repairs, but at this point no similar problems have been discovered on other airline fleets.

The primary reason for emphasizing potential manufacturing-related lapses or problems, according to these officials, stems from the fact that a number of the Southwest planes with fuselage cracks were built around the same time. And jets flown by other carriers, even some with a larger number of takeoffs and landings that the Southwest plane with the hole, haven't shown any signs of structural weakness or fatigue.

So far, according to one official familiar with the investigation, investigators have spent the most effort to understand the manufacturing history of the Southwest planes that had significant cracking of their aluminum skins. The plane with the rupture had logged about 39,000 takeoffs and landings, substantially fewer than the point at which Boeing experts anticipated it could face serious metal fatigue.

But according to officials familiar with the investigation, it's still too early to know whether the suspect Southwest jets illustrate a possible quality-control or manufacturing problem of relatively short duration, or some other potential causes.

The stresses planes undergo each time their cabins pressurize and then depressurize during a trip are major factors in creating cracks and possibly causing metal fatigue.

Possible production problems were first reported on Saturday by ABC news.

Federal Aviation Administration chief Randy Babbitt previously suggested that production issues were under heightened scrutiny. He told an industry conference in Miami earlier this month that the agency, among other things, was looking into "manufacturing techniques" along with Boeing. Mr. Babbitt said agency experts were examining existing aging-aircraft inspection rules and seeking to determine "are we looking at the right things?"

Eventually, more than 400 additional older 737 jets will have to be inspected around the globe, as a result of safety mandates by the FAA and foreign regulators.

On Saturday a Southwest spokeswoman declined to comment on the investigation. She said the incident plane was still undergoing repairs, but the five others identified with cracks have been fixed and were returned to service.

Boeing officials have said that the particular fuselage design on the affected airplanes was changed when a new version of the model was introduced in 1993. The so-called 737 "Next Generation" is the type still being built today and Boeing has delivered more than 3,500 of those, according to company data.

The safety mandates issued by the FAA cover certain 737-300, 737-400 and 737-500 versions, and they kick in based on the number of takeoffs and landings planes have logged.

Over the years, the FAA and industry have developed a comprehensive set of inspection standards and procedures to identify and repair fuselage cracks on older planes before they can result in major problems. The April Southwest incident shocked the airline industry, surprised regulators and spooked many travelers because until it happened, Boeing had concluded that the plane didn't need to undergo detailed structural inspections on that part of its fuselage until much later in its life.

The planes under scrutiny feature a certain type of "lap joint" -- the area where Boeing and government investigators have said the structural cracks originated -- and surrounding strengtheners designed to prevent cracks from growing.

The twin-engine 737, the company's most popular jet and a workhorse for carriers around the globe, first entered service in 1968. Since then, the more than 6,600 have been completed at Boeing's factory in Renton, Wash., just south of Seattle, and more than 2,000 remain on order. The planes requiring inspection were built between 1993 and 2000.

Before reaching Washington state, however, 737 fuselage barrels are assembled at a factory in Wichita, Kan. That facility, now owned by Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc., a major aerospace supplier, was at the time a wholly-owned Boeing factory. Boeing spun off its commercial airplanes unit in Wichita in 2005.

On Friday, Boeing said it continues to work closely with the safety board and the FAA to determine what caused the April 1 event.

In its statement, the Chicago aerospace giant said that "to date, inspections have been completed worldwide on approximately 75 percent of the 190 airplanes affected" by mandatory inspection rules, and only the handful of Southwest planes have "shown small subsurface cracks." "Portions of the panels from those airplanes have been shipped to Boeing, and we are conducting analyses to validate the initial inspection findings."

According to Boeing, "no conclusions have been reached about the root cause of the inspection findings" or how they may relate to the April 1 event, and "any attempt to draw conclusions on either would be premature and speculative."

—Timothy W. Martin contributed to this article
Write to Andy Pasztor at andy.pasztor@wsj.com and Peter Sanders at peter.sanders@wsj.com
 
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densoo

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That's why management gets paid the big bucks--to not make these kinds of strategic, massively expensive mistakes. All in the name outsourcing to avoid paying U.S. citizens a living wage.

Today.
Federal Aviation Administration chief Randy Babbitt previously suggested that production issues were under heightened scrutiny. He told an industry conference in Miami earlier this month that the agency, among other things, was looking into "manufacturing techniques" along with Boeing. Mr. Babbitt said agency experts were examining existing aging-aircraft inspection rules and seeking to determine "are we looking at the right things?"

Last Week.
For businesses, it was the type of action they have feared from a National Labor Relations Board dominated by Democrats. For labor unions, it was the type of action they have hoped for. And for both, it may be a sign of things to come. These fears and hopes were stirred this week when the labor board’s top lawyer filed a case against Boeing, seeking to force it to move airplane production from a nonunion plant in South Carolina to a unionized one in Washington State. Boeing executives had publicly said they were making the move to avoid the kind of strikes the airplane maker had repeatedly faced in Washington; Lafe Solomon, the labor board’s acting general counsel, said the company’s motive constituted illegal retaliation against workers for exercising their right to strike. The agency’s unusually bold action angered business groups and some politicians, who said it was an unwarranted attempt by the government to interfere with a fundamental corporate decision.

This Year.
Earlier this week, Boeing announced yet another -- now the seventh -- delay in the delivery schedule for its first 787 Dreamliner, pushing its initial delivery back at least three years later than originally planned.These delays raise important questions for a management practice that has been around for decades: outsourcing. Specifically, did Boeing outsource too much of the Dreamliner's components to other companies in other countries? Will the 787's outsourcing problems persist? And what might this mean for airlines, passengers and investors in Boeing stock? The short answers are: yes, probably, and it's too early to tell.
 
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stalker

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No this can not be true. According to the expert OY6 the crack was a direct result of a poor braking technique by the pilots.
 

General Lee

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The primary reason for emphasizing potential manufacturing-related lapses or problems, according to these officials, stems from the fact that a number of the Southwest planes with fuselage cracks were built around the same time. And jets flown by other carriers, even some with a larger number of takeoffs and landings that the Southwest plane with the hole, haven't shown any signs of structural weakness or fatigue.

So far, according to one official familiar with the investigation, investigators have spent the most effort to understand the manufacturing history of the Southwest planes that had significant cracking of their aluminum skins. The plane with the rupture had logged about 39,000 takeoffs and landings, substantially fewer than the point at which Boeing experts anticipated it could face serious metal fatigue.

But according to officials familiar with the investigation, it's still too early to know whether the suspect Southwest jets illustrate a possible quality-control or manufacturing problem of relatively short duration, or some other potential causes.

The stresses planes undergo each time their cabins pressurize and then depressurize during a trip are major factors in creating cracks and possibly causing metal fatigue



Reading the above part of that article, OYS may have been correct to question the pilot handling of those planes in question. No other airlines with planes (737-300s)the same age have had any problems. That is the key point. Why would other 737s with MORE takeoffs and landings STILL NOT HAVE THE CRACKS THAT YOUR 6 PLANES HAVE? If that is the case, where do you look next knowing that?

Not all of that article gives you guys a pass and puts total blame on Boeing. Reading his posts, I think OYS was just trying to suggest that maybe you should think twice about slamming it on or major braking just to keep your schedule. That probably goes for everyone, at any airline.


Bye Bye---General Lee
 
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scoreboardII

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So you are saying the light to moderate manual braking unlike the fairly aggressive autobrakes which everyone else uses (which SWA didn't until recently) caused the problem?

Maybe though if you look at the facts and ID the point that SWA owns a vast majority of the problem batch of jets and flies them at a cycle rate double the other carriers, just maybe, thats why SWA has the cracks. But I'll do the sensible thing and let the NTSB decide.
 

On Your Six

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So you are saying the light to moderate manual braking unlike the fairly aggressive autobrakes which everyone else uses (which SWA didn't until recently) caused the problem?

Maybe though if you look at the facts and ID the point that SWA owns a vast majority of the problem batch of jets and flies them at a cycle rate double the other carriers, just maybe, thats why SWA has the cracks. But I'll do the sensible thing and let the NTSB decide.

If you say you are always gentle on your planes, then it must be so! GMAB.



OYS
 
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luckytohaveajob

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SWA had a female captain making the 250/10000 restrictions by flying 300 knots below 10,000 way beyond the design limits Boeing established. SWA also has restricted the use of flaps, speed brakes and gear because of repeated abuse to the airframe after rolling a B737 135 degrees at the outer marker.

No other flap tracks were found cracked after an AD was issued except on the SWA fleet. Design flaw or operator error?

SWA has repeatably blamed everyone else after flying the B737 beyond limits.

SWA is the least experienced operator using established standards regarding the auto throttle, auto brakes, and fly stabilized approaches.
 

stalker

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Oh well that settles it then. We should notify the NTSB that the real experts, The Gen, and OY6 agree that the pilots braking technique was the cause.
 

dispatchguy

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All in the name outsourcing to avoid paying U.S. citizens a living wage.

Last time I checked, Wichita is in Kansas, and the last time I checked, Kansas is a part of the US...and ICT is where the B737 Fuselages are built...so US citizens are indeed building those fuselages...
 

stalker

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Oh great another expert. Just a hint, the 250 below 10 is not a design speed there genius!
 

nimtz

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So you are saying the light to moderate manual braking unlike the fairly aggressive autobrakes which everyone else uses (which SWA didn't until recently) caused the problem?

Wonder why the tech dinosaur mentality has taken so long to die over there? :rolleyes: Next please tell me the one about you guys not needing A/T's and VNAV cause LUV drivers are better at saving gas all on their own.
 
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Skyboy722

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Worst landing I've ever witnessed in my life was on Delta. Maybe you guys should inspect that one.
 

densoo

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All in the name outsourcing to avoid paying U.S. citizens a living wage.

Last time I checked, Wichita is in Kansas, and the last time I checked, Kansas is a part of the US...and ICT is where the B737 Fuselages are built...so US citizens are indeed building those fuselages...
"Living wage."

Last time I checked non-union wages/benefits were less than union wages.

Union members in the United States earn significantly more than non-union workers. Over the four-year period between 2004 and 2007, unionized workers’ wages were on average 11.3 percent higher than non-union workers with similar characteristics. That means that, all else equal, American workers that join a union will earn 11.3 percent more—or $2.26 more per hour in 2008 dollars—than their otherwise identical non-union counterparts.
http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2009/02/efca_factsheets.html
 
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luckytohaveajob

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Oh great another expert. Just a hint, the 250 below 10 is not a design speed there genius!

And proof of another dangerous SWAPA pilot flying your family and friends in violation of Boeings limitations.

SWA thinks limitations are just suggestions to follow when it is convenient.

I will write real slow for the SWAPA pilots who need the tutoring.

250 k below 10k is a design limitation. period. end of discussion. fact.

Birds fly below 10k and wind screens are designed to withstand a bird strike below 250 knots. Not 259, 260, 261, or 270, but 250 or slower.

Staker is another SWA pilot who doesn't know what he is doing.
 

luckytohaveajob

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For those of you unaware of the clacker discussion concerning SWA.

Boeing was very interested in the SWA 737 airframe flying faster than the clacker by the female pilot making the 250/10000 restriction.

350 knots plus! She was past Boeing's flight test data of Vd by a wide margin. Boeing said privately the plane should have crashed.

SWA gave her 2 weeks off. She should have been fired and grounded for threatening the lives of every passenger on board.

But SWA culture just blamed it on Boeing. Which Boeing will accept the partial blame to keep its largest customer happy.
 
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swaflyguy

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You must be luckytohaveajob because you would have failed the general knowledge portion of the interview. The 250kt restriction only applies in the 737 if the window heat is inop. Other than that you can go as fast below 10k as you like, obviously complying with ATC restrictions. LTHAJ said that every plane ever manufactured has a limit of 250 below 10. You might want to recheck your facts both on the reason for 250 below 10k and limits on the aircraft you are flying. EX. The 737 airspeed limit is Vmo at any altitude with all systems operating normally.. 767 is 313 kts I believe. 250 below 10 is exceeded all the time in airspace outside the US and at military airfields. We used to fly the pattern at 300kts all the time to mix in with the fighter guys so everyone was going the same speed. Also I believe it was Houston Arr/Dep that used to waive the 250kt restriction most times if you asked for it. It was a pilot program back about 5-10 years ago. Not sure what ever became of it. Now im not obviously going to fly around at 342 kts but its there if you want it.
 

ivauir

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No amount of factual information will deter OYS/GL.

Haters gotta hate.
 

LeeRoyJenkins

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250 k below 10k is a design limitation. period. end of discussion. fact.

Really? Well, then A LOT of aircraft in the late 90's and early 2000's busted A LOT of design limitations (according to you) coming out of Houston Airspace when the FAA Implemented their "No Speed Limit" study.

If it were a design limitation then why weren't all those aircraft grounded?

Got an answer for that one smart guy?
 
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